The proposals outlined Monday would be ambitious at any time. But they face particularly high hurdles given the current political climate in Washington.
The Republican-controlled Congress has repeatedly tried to repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which mandated that all Americans have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The GOP House and Senate has otherwise shown little appetite for cooperating with the Democratic-controlled White House on major policy initiatives, particularly ones that would expand or reform the social safety net.
Is passing these proposals a political long shot? "Yeah, it is," said collaborative member Howard Gleckman.
"But it's a big problem, and it's a problem that we've got to fix," said Gleckman, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.
Gleckman noted that members of the collaborative include people from across the political spectrum, and that the group "talked a lot about whether we wanted to" tailor its proposals according to the political landscape.
But "what we discovered," he said, is "you couldn't fix this with half measures."
"It's not that we didn't take politics into account. But there's no other way to do it," Gleckman said.
He also noted that "next year there's going to be a new president and a new Congress, and this problem is not going to go away."